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Fam Pract. 1998 Oct;15(5):437-42.

Attitudes of GPs to the care of people with epilepsy.

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University of Wales College of Medicine.



Most individuals with current epilepsy are solely under the care of the primary care team for follow-up care. Government working party recommendations, expert epilepsy panels and patients have also stressed the central role of the GP in follow-up care. Problems in the provision of care in the community have, however, repeatedly been highlighted. The views of GPs about service provision for people with epilepsy may be an important barrier to providing care, but have not yet been studied in a systematic manner.


We aimed to ascertain the views of GPs on service provision for people with epilepsy in primary care and on specific initiatives to improve care.


A specially designed postal questionnaire was sent to all 262 GPs on the list of West Glamorgan FHSA. It ascertained what GPs felt their role should be in providing care to people with epilepsy, identified their views on the importance of particular problems in providing this care, as well as obtaining their opinions on possible future initiatives to improve epilepsy care in the community.


The overall response rate was 70%. Although a majority of responding GPs (55%) agreed that the care of people with epilepsy should be based in general practice, 23% disagreed. A lack of confidence about knowledge of epilepsy (34% responders), unfamiliarity with new drugs (65% responders) and a lack of time (41% responders) were identified as important perceived barriers to providing epilepsy care. Nearly all responding GPs would welcome guidelines for epilepsy care (93% felt they would be very helpful) and an epilepsy liaison nurse in the community was the most popular option in terms of preferred overall strategy for improving care.


Despite 40 years of official recommendations regarding the central role of the GP in the follow-up care of people with epilepsy, a number of GPs have difficulty in providing this care. Many feel that they lack knowledge or are too time pressured to improve the situation. Nearly all GPs say that they would find guidelines for epilepsy care very helpful and over half would find epilepsy liaison nurses helpful. There is scope for more innovative ideas for epilepsy care in the community.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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